What did the 2012 LEGO Friends Minidolls Look Like?
2012's the year we first got to play with the minidolls. The 29 LEGO Friends sets came with a total of 44 dolls, 30 of which were unique. These are those 30.
Each one of them has a name and a personality. Olivia, Stephanie, Mia, Andrea and Emma make up the five main friends and the rest are fellow Heartlake City residents whose roles range from friends to family members. The LEGO designers made sure that the forms and the colors used for the dolls reflected the character’s personality and could still be mixed & matched to create new dolls. I’ll try to reverse engineer how and why they did that.
This line was designed primarily for girls. Therefore, the majority of the dolls are female. Peter’s the only male representative and he’s Olivia’s father. That tells us a lot about the age of LEGO’s intended builders. Young enough for the parents to still play a major role in their life, and not old enough to be interested in boys.
There are 24 Light Nougat, 6 Medium Nougat and 0 Nougat skin colored dolls. We had to wait till 2018 to get the first Nougat doll. And yes, those are actual LEGO names for the colors used.
Heartlake City was invented for modern girls, so its residents wear modern clothes in vibrant colors. I’ve divided the pieces into triangles of similar hues to get a sense of how often a color was used. Most pieces contain multiple colors, so I allocated them depending on what color dominated. The process was by no means perfect, but it was worth doing. It brought to light a slight difference between the color distributions for the legs and the torso pieces and that they are both avoiding the earthly tones like they’re the Kragle.
On characters, the torsos and the legs pieces rarely create a monochrome outfit. Also, skirts and sleeveless tops are far more popular than pants and warm clothes. Seems like the locals get to enjoy an endless summer that’s interrupted only by the short Advent Calendar season. It’s that or they’re freezing most of the time.
The personality of a character comes through in their shirt choice. Mia prefers blue tones with animal prints and Andrea likes green, yellow and music (but not the blues). If one of the main friends claims a shirt, no one else is allowed to touch it.
The legs pieces work differently. Here, reuse is encouraged.
There’s not much variety among the face printings. Just like with the first minifigures, LEGO gave us only smiles. And Peter. But there are several different eye colors which are again modeled after the real world. No purple eyes till 2015 and the LEGO Elves theme. Obviously, a particular character’s face doesn’t change even when the clothes do.
The hair style and color combo is arguably the most recognizable part of a character. The style changes if the doll wears a hat but the color always remains the same. All hair pieces are made from a rubbery plastic and have minipin holes. That way the dolls can quickly put on a bow, a flower or a tiara. Accessorizing is important and LEGO realized that. Good for them and for us.
The colors used for the hair pieces emulate the ones found on our heads here in the real world. As you can tell by the emptiness on the more adventurous part of the spectrum. I also need to point out the vacant elderly triangle. LEGO apparently didn’t think grey haired people would be too interested in the line.
Now that we are familiar with all building elements of a minidoll, can we build new ones? Using only the parts form 2012 and with no painting. Most of my test dolls have monochrome outfits, just because.
In my opinion, the designers upheld their promise you would be able to mix & match the parts. The clothes colors all work together very well so it almost doesn’t matter which ones you’ll combine. However, you need to avoid uniting an element with visible skin with elements of a different skin color. Because that does not look good.
I fell in love with these “new LEGO figures” as soon as I saw them, and now I have a better understanding why. They were basically made for a younger version of myself, but since I never really grew up, I picked them up and I’ve been playing with them ever since.
This article is an adaptation of the “All 2012 LEGO Friends Minidolls” video on the BrickoMotion YouTube channel
and it appeared in the free HispaBrick Magazine 033 published September 2019.